New Moreno Valley City Council Takes Steps to Prevent Competition With World Logistics Center and Highland Fairview’s Medical Campus

During last Tuesday’s meeting of the Moreno Valley City Council the council under the control of Iddo Benzeevi and his crew of political puppets took the first steps toward protecting Highland Fairview and its proposed developments from any future competing competition, this was through moving forward with an overlay zone which in Mayor Owings own words would prevent addition warehousing to be built within the specific overlay zone, thus forcing any future tenant into the pockets of Iddo Benzeevi and his Highland Fairview Development Company.

Mr. Owings in the past has been quite open on his views of NOT allowing further developments of the types of buildings Highland Fairview wishes to develop east of Redlands Blvd., in fact he once opined to a Press Enterprise that we should allow these types of buildings (warehouses) to be placed all over the city to prevent Highland Fairview from profiting (exact quote provided bellow).

Now through Mayor Owings authority as Mayor, has placed himself along with another Benzeevi yes men, Marcelo Co and Jesse Molina to the March Joint Powers Commission, this based on the tit for tat which took place between prior Mayor and now odd man out Richard Stewart showed clearly Stewart’s removal was a strategic plan to aid and assist Iddo Benzeevi once again by allowing him (Iddo) to hopefully redirect the effort of the March Life Care development into the wild blue yonder never to be seen again, thus forcing any competition for Benzeevi’s  Wellness Campus out of the Moreno Valley and anyone seeking to place medical related facilities in the area into the dirty hands of Iddo Benzeevi himself.

Quote of Tom Owings as posted in the Press Enterprise article; “Traffic, residents’ complaints and lack of tenant cited as problematic.” May 13th, 2011.

“The question becomes, ‘Do you want to have a proliferation of these types of buildings throughout the City in order to prevent HF from benefiting?”

TomOwings and Iddo Benzeevi Mean (2)

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3 thoughts on “New Moreno Valley City Council Takes Steps to Prevent Competition With World Logistics Center and Highland Fairview’s Medical Campus

  1. Breakdown of the World Logistics Center Debate – The Short Version
    This an outlined summary of the debate for the World Logistics Center Project proposed for development by firm Highland Fairview and its CEO Iddo Benzeevi for the eastern end of Moreno Valley. This a shorter version meant to outline the points made in the paragraphs of that longer version posted earlier. It may also make its way into the form of a PowerPoint and a video as time goes by.

    What will the World Logistics Center Bring?

    41 million square foot of warehousing and office space to be constructed.

    Warehouses will be 500,000 square feet and above that are LEED certified, high-cube, and mostly automated buildings.

    Open space near Lake Perris, Mystic Lake, the Badlands in the form of landscaping and foliage.

    An undisclosed amount of office space for more prominent firms like engineers, lawyers, construction etc.

    2,600-3,300 acres in size taken up south of the 60 freeway and east of Redlands Boulevard to Gilman Springs Road.

    Promises to be big enough end the housing to jobs ratio and then add need industrial space neglected during the housing boom of the early 2000s.

    No known time of completion or time for maximum output yet Benzeevi has stated he hopes begin construction in Spring 2013 and invest $2.3 billion in jobs and infrastructure in the area including $110 million in fees to the city.

    Creates 20,000 jobs of unknown positions and types with $43,000 median salary claimed for each worker.

    City officials spoke on the behalf of the project at the East End Economic Forum in January 2012 and already make statements giving it their endorsement.

    Criticism of the Sketchers Distribution Center Development

    Iddo Benzeevi only owns the land the distribution center went on and had no real part in the construction process despite having a joint corporation with Skechers to complete the building.

    Three phases were set to complete the corporate park with only one barely being done currently with the retail end of the building’s western end not completed.

    Landscaping, back warehousing area, Eucalyptus Avenue still has not been paved between Redlands Boulevard and Theodore Street on the southern end of the corporate park.

    General contractor hired by Highland Fairview went bankrupt in 2011 sparking the joint partnership to keep the construction from going into foreclosure.

    Skechers hired its own general contractor and crew in order to complete the construction while outsourcing from Orange County.

    Claims that the building was LEED certified, and it was the biggest in the US a year before it was even allowed to file and was the biggest in the country were made by Highland Fairview and city officials backing the project. Highland Fairview has only filed for such status as of Fall 2012.

    Mechanical liens have mounted on the building and have not yet been paid to this day on any construction costs.

    The project was first proposed in 2007 to be finished in January 2009, work started in winter 2011 with a completion date of April or May, with it kept getting pushed back month by month until its partial completion was announced in November and the store had a soft opening. A third of the merchandise was in storage with the store opening in November while the building was not yet making shipments from the warehouse yet.

    Skechers simply moved its operations from six buildings and transferred 600 workers from Ontario International Airport with plans for a new automated warehouse in San Bernardino, but went with Highland Fairview instead and signed a deal before the project had even been approved or the land it was to go on was rezoned properly.

    Created a net job loss and was mostly automated during the transfer by dismissing 200 workers in the process.

    Never came close to fulfilling promises of 3,500, 2,500, 1,200, 1,000 local jobs made by Iddo Benzeevi and city officials when no local residents were hired and not a single one for construction.

    $250 million in infrastructure promise was never built, and the actual property tax revenue of is 1/5 of what it promised before 2012 according to the County of Riverside.

    Land not owned by Benzeevi included in the rezoning changes brought by the addition of rezoning to through a vote of the city council to make unprecedented general plan amendments just for the development of a single warehouse on his property.

    Iddo Benzeevi’s Relationship to Development in Moreno Valley

    Been involved in politics since 2005 when his interest in the Moreno Highlands development he had the contract for became of interest when the housing market had rebounded after the 1992 recession.

    Awarded the Moreno Highlands 20 year development agreement at the invitation of then council member Richard Stewart in 1992 who now currently is the mayor.

    Desired to build a logistics airport in eastern Moreno Valley during the mid 1990s called the Moreno International Trade Center that was never built and promised to use the same amount of acreage(more than half of which he does not own at all), would produce similar job numbers to the WLC of 30-50,000 jobs, with $2 billion in infrastructure improvements.

    Only owns 1,600 acres across Moreno valley and only has half the land needed for the logistics center to ever be built.

    700 acres was going for Aquabella senior living with new interest in a medical corridor announced personally by Mayor Richard Stewart in August 2011 at the State of the City address which has so far never submitted an environmental impact report, any further concept art, plans, or information since. The video presented included footage of the fountain of the Las Vegas Bellagio and tower of the Venetian hotel in its excessive stock art.

    His plans for the World Logistics Center have gotten the direct endorsement from the city manager, planning manager, and a paid local economist in East End Economic Forum held in January 2012 when they presented information that is now known to be a decade old to support the favor of medical and logistics in Moreno Valley.

    Environmental impact report included for over a thousand acres of land not owned by Benzeevi and inaccurate of the names of the property owners.

    Desires to change the eastern end of the city to light industrial in place of residential despite protests from local residents and a few businesses to which three members of the city council who he gives campaign funds to agreed to do.

    Planning manager’s credibility questioned for the new idea because he has previously spoken in favor of the project in pubic in January.

    Stock art from brochures from summer 2012 advertising showcasing the World Logistics Center show an elaborate digital painting of concept art with no actual plans for buildings yet revealed or company names who might potentially lease the building still yet named.

    Benzeevi’s History of Politics in Moreno Valley

    Has given over half a million dollars to local city council and planning commission election candidates such as Michael Geller and Tom Owings via the Moreno Valley Taxpayers Association and helped Mayor Richard Stewart win reelection in 2006 and 2010 and his law partner who serves on the city staff as well and who have done pro-bono work for during his terms on the council despite claiming to be retired from law.

    Large donations that amount into the thousands have also gone to council member Marcelo Co elected in 2010 who ran with pictures of the unfinished Skechers building under construction in his campaign posters.

    Jesse Molina and Robin Hastings of the district Skechers is in has also accepted large amounts of money from Benzeevi. The amount from one individual is well above higher than average in elections in the city.

    In summer 2011 when the general contractor of Skechers went bankrupt, the site was entering into foreclosure, and the shoe manufacturer donated $5,000 a piece to Marcelo Co and Jesse Molina at the same time a temporary construction permit was issued to with only their authorization on record. Money given to recently arrested MVUSD school board trustee Mike Rios to pressure the district repay Benzeevi funds loaned to research a fifth high school when his housing development was still active and demanded early repayment.

    $40,000 given to Riverside County Supervisor Marion Ashley for his campaign funds. In July 2012 truck lanes between Gilman Springs Road and Jack Rabbit Trail along the 60 freeway through the Badlands were announced, something that had been pushed by Ashley for years and is also claimed to not be related to future logistics in Moreno Valley.

    City manager Henry Garcia hired from Rialto at the recommendation of Benzeevi and also surprises the community upon being hired with double the average salary pay of $425,000 per year of tax payer funds and speaks directly on behalf of the World Logistics Center in January 2012.

    Staff under city manager suddenly fired in October 2011 and replaced with a candidate that used to work in Rialto who is automatically interested in the eastern end upon being rapidly sworn in and gets a higher than average salary as well.

    Eastern end renamed Rancho Belago for the creation of new housing development at Moreno Highlands and Aquabella and his signs paid for with taxpayer money after years of debate, and rip-offs the world famous signs of the city of Beverly Hills which even prompts it to consider a copyright suit against Moreno Valley for it in spring 2011.

    Has given funds to 2012 council candidate Tom Owings who owns Raceway Ford which is adjacent to the corporate park where Mayor Stewart’s law firm and the Moreno Valley Tax Payer Association is headquartered. Owings has already received funds from city council member Marcelo Co’s small business, the Skechers corporation itself, and Iddo Benzeevi. He has also admitted to his excitement about the eastern end development over a year before the November election.

    In 2008 Iddo Benzeevi with the help of city attorney Michael Geller, who is Mayor Stewart’s law and real estate partner, filed a complaint with the state of California over council member Frank West for misuse of campaign funds that he was acquitted of after a 15 month investigation. It is very likely these charges were brought up because Frank West opposed the construction of the Skechers distribution center in the third district where it was built and politically targeted for it. West was later defeated by Robin Hastings in that election with some of Benzeevi’s funding. This year was touted as being the biggest amount of money ever spent on an election campaign in the history of the city. $350,000 was spent by Iddo Benzeevi via the Moreno Valley Tax Payers Association that year.

    The 2012 general election saw the election of council candidates Tom Owings who has worked on the city planning commission and helped get the Skechers distribution center approved, Victoria Baca a former employee of Highland Fairview, and Jesse Molina who has taken money from Skechers and Highland Fairview during his campaign. Other candidates such as Gary Capalino have been given money by the Skechers corporation probably under pressure from Iddo Benzeevi, the Moreno Valley Taxpayers Association, and Highland Fairview as well.

    Environmental Impact of Logistics

    Will destroy the rural nature of the former Moreno township and agricultural area upon full construction.

    Noise, light, and air particle pollution will increase from a variety or sources.

    Green irrigation system claimed to be planned for the warehouses by Highland Fairview more water than the area gets on an annual basis and will thus be wasteful.

    Pollution will destroy the chaparral and will too cause a chain reaction in the Eco system harming dozens of already endangered species and habitats.

    Affects the Younglove Reserve, the Badlands, Lake Perris, San Jacinto Wildlife Area, San Jacinto River, and potential future sites of public parks in San Timoteo Canyon and for allowing Redlands Boulevard and Gilman Springs Road from becoming scenic drives designated by the state of California.

    Harms the last chance for riparian foliage and good bird habitat in Southern California to rebound.

    Threatens the mountain communities with smog, global warming and beetle bark infestation increases in trees and as a result increases drought and chances of wildfires.

    Recreational areas such as Lake Perris will become polluted and more unpopular because of the warehousing nearby producing smog and noise.

    Pollutants are bound to irritate ranchers that live nearby in eastern Moreno Valley, Nuevo, San Jacinto, San Timoteo Canyon, and Hemet with soil, crops, and livestock being affected.

    Hunters will not like the waterfowl vanishing in larger numbers from pollution due to habitat destruction.

    Smog and haze will linger in the Moreno Valley more and especially the San Jacinto Valley to the south because of rain shadow affect all the way up to the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway and Idyllwild.

    60 freeway potentially will not be wide enough to handle huge levels of truck traffic or to be repaired.

    Decline in demand for logistics around the world and us because of new places along the Mexican Gulf, Mojave and Sonoran Deserts, Nicaragua, the Mississippi River Delta, and especially the US East coast.

    Rail traffic is moving in another direction and can move more freight to other locations outside of the Inland Empire especially because of the planned XpressWest bullet train planned to Las Vegas that will build a new freight line.

    Plans to restore the San Jacinto industrial railroad spur between eastern Riverside and Perris for Metrolink commuter trains and the installation of a transit center for Moreno Valley opens up the idea of freight trains supporting logistics in the western end back to the city for the first time since the 1980s.

    Construction of a new general aviation airport near March ARB for Moreno Valley brings the opportunity for private cargo flights to be flown in and out of the city.

    All current logistics operations approved for construction in Moreno Valley are only expansions of current warehouses in the Centerpointe Business Park.

    At least 2 million square feet of logistics space remains open in the city as of today that has not yet been filled.

    Competition from other communities and their logistics demand is not occurring as planned in the Inland Empire and also may pose a threat to the demand of this project.

    Victorville’s Southern California Logistics Airport is under expansion through rail and road infrastructure.

    The San Jacinto Fault, the most active in the state will lie on the property if built and will be affected as a seismic risk.

  2. The fact that Benzeevi has been paying so much money to local elected officials and not planning out the development of Skechers as his general contractor vanished, the building entered into foreclosure twice during construction, it too more than eight months than it should have to begin operation, has not finished the first phase of construction etc. All of this has been screaming that Highland Fairview never had the capital to meet the ambition of Benzeevi’s vision for Rancho Belago. Other things that were red flags was the cushy contract Highland Fairview had with the city not requiring it to widen Cactus Avenue and Lasselle Street near Aquabella and making the city pay for the renaming of the eastern end and installing signs for Rancho Belago using tax payer money and not his own. This despite the collapse of the housing market and the official abandonment of Aquabella The city manager approved plans to pave Eucalpytus Avenue between Redlands Boulevard and Theodore Street with more money from the general fund because Highland Fairview and Skechers did not complete it during construction. Benzeevi’s uses MVTV-3’s resources as a means of endorsing his company through city produced videos and magazines with exclusive interviews of himself inside. The idea of putting Skechers in the location is was and not being wiling to put it on the western end where highway, air, and rail infrastructure for industry already exists was another red flag because Benzeevi only wanted a large building on that particular spot because he has owned land near Redlands Boulevard since 1987 for housing development. Once the housing market was gone he had to rush a large building on his tracts of land, making special amendments to the general plan to do so, because he knew he had not made a wise investment in housing. Too also the fact that he never has succesfully completed a building project to date including any houses. Why does Highland Fairview have no official website for itself and only employee five individuals? Why do they have an office literally across the street from city hall where they can hear all the gossip in town about development? Because Benzeevi created Highland Fairview and dozens of other companies to buy cheap land, with no experience, no money, and only nice talk in the hopes of creating a get rich quick scheme like any other developer in the midst of the seemingly endless housing bubble and is essentially a fly-by-night operation meant only to last as long as the construction project needed to be done. They never had much money and much business sense. This is why Skechers was in foreclosure so many times, Skechers did not most of the construction work with its own firms, why so many Benzeevi project have crashed and burned in the last 25 years and why the Skechers distribution center is in default of its loans until it pays in full. Benzeevi needs to buy politicians to keep other credibile developers from competing with him because he knows he would never succeed on his own merits in this market. He also needs city tax payer money to pay for his infrastructure and endorsements because he never had the capital for the project to be invested in it. Just like back in 1992, Benzeevi’s days in Mo Val are now number and he will fall into the historic dustbin of many other land speculators who tried to get rich quick through shady and sloppy construction projects.

  3. Names and faces have changed, but the agenda stays the same. All of it bought and paid for by Iddo. There needs to be an investigation into our city’s government to find out exactly what is going on and if there has been illegal activity.

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